National Canopy Coverage

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Fighting Fire with Fire

If you have ever visited a national park, you have benefitted from the important work of the United States Forest Service. This vital agency has been protecting and preserving our nations beloved landscapes for over 100 years. Forest fragmentation, anthropogenic disturbances, and industrialization have altered US’s forests and rangelands, although it may seem like the area of land they protect has begun to dwindle- that has not made the job any easier. Over the past decade the USFS, like our changing landscapes, has adapted strategies for maintaining the fires that are necessary to a healthy ecosystem. These brave men and women are equipped with advanced manpower and technology possible to protect the forests with increased vulnerability. The evolution of fires has called for an increase in man (or woman) power in this agency. That is where the USFS steps in to do the job the landscape desperately needs. In 1995 wildfire cost consumed 16% of USFS budget, while today this budget has risen to 67% of USFS total funding. However, recent behavior an increase in the duration of fire season, fire size, fire behavior demands the USFS be at the top of their game. Fires do not adhere to state lines or jurisdictions so this agency invites local and federal partners to help protect threatened landscapes.

These forces of nature are as mighty as the men and women that fight them. USFS tells us “wildfires can be friend or foe”. This chaotic behavior may seem angrier than your mom after coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes you were supposed to clean. We know of several benefits of these natural occurrences such as clearing brush and pests to provide new healthy environments full of nutrients and space to grow.

Enjoy 3 minutes of this heart wrenching film, accurately titled Fighting Fire with Fire,  that provides a small glimpse into the vital and dangerous roles taken on by the USFS.

 

 

In addition to this video there are a multitude of other resources offered by the department of USFS such as interactive Esri mapping, and even beta apps that will notify you when there is a fire nearby visit their website to see all their resources here

This video was created by Filson to honor the noble fire fighters on screen and behind the scenes who fight every day to preserve out national landscapes.

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Check this Off

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As a busy student and web administrator, I find the easiest way to keep track of all my important tasks is to continuously make an updated to-do list, finding absolute pleasuring knowing I can check off completed items. Sometimes I feel like my most productive days are mirrored in nature. Under the impression, I had near overdosed on to-do lists, I began noticing trees that resembled check marks. 


After reading An Animated Guide to Nature’s Best Wayfinding Secrets by Sommer Mathis I had a little more confidence in my sanity. Finding a tree that has an uneven growth pattern can be explained by phototropism. The idea of phototropism was observed by Charles Darwin in 1880 through experiments that demonstrated the shoots (or branches/leaves) grew towards the strongest direction of sunlight. This process allows the leaves, undergoing photosynthesis, to optimize the daily amount of food (aka sunlight) received. These chlorophylls filled organisms were sometimes noticed growing more abundantly in a nonlinear pattern. Branches of trees grow directly towards the sun when the beams are the strongest and branches not in a direct line of sunlight will tend to curve to receive ample nutrients. Tristan Gooley, a nature expert, points our attention to the stronger direction of canopy growth.


"On the south side, they can take a fairly direct route. So, they curve toward the sun, which creates a slightly more horizontal branch. On the north side, they’re still trying to grow toward the light, but they can’t take a direct route because the trunk and the rest of the tree are in the way. So, they end up growing towards the sky." Tristan Gooley contributes the “check effect” present in all green organism but more noticeable in trees. 


Interestingly enough, (negative) phototropism can also describe the growth pattern of roots in which this system will burrow deepest in the direction opposite of sunlight. In honor of the upcoming eclipse please share any photos of tree growth influenced by our favorite star!


Enjoy Sommer Mathis entire article (here) on Tristan Gooley's top 5 prudent tips on navigating nature accompanying by 4 more breathtaking animations from the super talented Chelsea Beck.

 

Animation by: Chelsea Beck

 

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Stressed with Shrubs

This morning I was lucky enough to be able to join my grandfather, a healthy and energetic 84, on his morning routine. He walks approx, 2 miles around his neighborhood to breathe fresh air and admire another beautiful day on this earth. During our stroll, he told me stories of his younger days, learning he had spent a few years employed by the lumber industry. Intrigued by the history of one of my role models, I am always engrossed by the stories of his early adulthood. I find it funny to picture my grandfather at my age, a full head of hair with all his original teeth. We laughed together as we tried to name all the different types of maples when we came to the end of the cul-de-sac. As we began our U-turn I stopped at an unusual tree. Pictured below.

 

 

Describing the photo above, a thin young maple with a collection of branches at the top. However, these branches were completely bare, an odd growth pattern for mid-August. Only a small cluster at the base of the trunk had leaves. I had seen this shrub like presence in trees before but never as distinct as this instance. It appeared that the bottom clump of leaves had stolen from the rest of the tree, impeding the ‘blood flow’ of nutrients throughout this cypress. With the combined tree knowledge between my grandfather and me, neither could identify the circumstance. With the help of Heather Rhoades from Gardening Know How we learned that these low shrub limbs have been dubbed ‘suckers’ for their vampire like tendencies. 

Suckers can be common in trees that have undergone a stressful planting, transplant, or an inadequate environment. However, a low-stress environment, perfect water portions, and maintenance can prevent this in your community forest.

Although if a tree has already begun to grow suckers it is best to remove them as soon as possible. Heather Rhoades notes “Tree sucker removal is easy to do. Tree sucker removal is done in the same way pruning is performed. Using a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears, cleanly cut the plant sucker as close to the tree as possible, but leave the collar (where the tree sucker meets the tree) to help speed the wound recovery."

Whenever I saw a tree sucker I had thought it was an innocent commencalism relationship between tree and shrub. Now with new knowledge gained from Gardening Know How I now view these trees as a little more human knowing these giants get acne too. 

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Fruit Tree Grafting

The year is 2017 and the battle has begun in the produce section, organic and GMO. From a young age, I was told 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away', I think about this a lot when doing a weekly refill of apples. I pride myself on the fact that I truly do eat an apple a day, however over the years I can't help but notice the sheer size of these fruits. I held a granny smith apple in my hand that was larger than a nearby navel orange. 

So I began to think about how technology has influenced produce throughout the years, more specifically grafting. Grafting is the process of inserting a small branch (or scion) into the trunk of another tree to manipulate the species. MotherEarthNews has posted an insightful article illustrating benefits of grafting, such as: increasing tree height, cloning trees, and saving existing trees after a devastating pruning incident. 

Learn from Lee Reich's experiences as he supplies comprehensive details (and photos) regarding the process of fruit tree grafting!

Read the full article here

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If you live in Northeastern US take advantage!

Although it has been around since 2011, I have just discovered a free app called 'Leafsnap'! This mobile application can identify trees just from a picture of leaves or flowers. This app currently only includes trees found in the Northeastern US, but will soon grow to include the trees of the entire continental United States. 

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In the last few years the University of Massachusetts Amherst has offered a Summer Program on trees and tree care for high school students. This year, the one-week session will take place July 9-15. This is a great opportunity for high school students to learn about arboriculture and urban forestry and be exposed to an exciting area of study and career path. And it's a great opportunity to spend some time in a lovely New England town in western Massachusetts! 

Learning to climb trees at UMass Summer College

Program Description
Through the study of trees and the impact of their health on urban communities, students in the Sustainable Tree Care program will take a proactive approach to climate as they learn what they can do now and in the future to make their communities greener. Trees provide many benefits in cities and towns like shading houses and cleaning the air and water; they also improve our quality of life. To maximize these benefits, we have to plant the right tree for a site and properly care for it. If we do, the benefits that the tree provides will far outweigh the cost of caring for the tree. In this 1-week intensive, we will learn about proper tree selection and care.

This program covers a number of earth science-related topics including: botany, physiology, soil composition, run-off, and pollution. Students will also receive hands-on experiential training in: identifying trees, identifying disease in trees, climbing trees (knot tying, ascension, limb walking, tree worker safety), pruning, plant health care, and pest management.

This 1-week intensive will balance academic study of the science and business of arboriculture while offering an introduction to the basic skills required to work in the field.

Learn more about the Sustainable Tree Care Summer College Program by clicking here.

Summer College programs are open to rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. High school seniors who will graduate this spring are also welcome. To find out more about the application process, click here and scroll down.  

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Death of the tallest known Ponderosa Pine

This post is in memory of one of the world’s tallest known pines. Big Pine campground became a designated spot for hikers, 20 miles southwest of Grant’s Pass. The big pine that dominated the landscape enjoyed many years of worldwide travelers looking to sneak a peak at its glorious countenance. Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest’s giant pine measured to an astounding 250 feet before it met its untimely demise, another victim of the ruthless pine beetle.

This prominent tree made the 1989 heritage tree list commemorating the 200th anniversary of the signing of the U. S. Constitution. This tree, among only 60 other trees nationwide, was a designated Living Witness Tree for the U. S. Constitution Bicentennial. The bark of these pines can be traced to a time where they were crafted into a canoe to assist Lewis and Clark as they crossed the Columbian river. These prehistoric trees are a testimony to the history of our nation, describing the vitality of America’s canopy as far back as the signing of the constitution.

The health of our forests is important to our future, as they have played a huge role in the history that has shaped our nation. The ecological importance of America’s old growth is boundless, present during a time in which no living humans remain. Local ecosystems persist around them and thrive because of them. Historic trees preserve national secrets as well as demonstrate the resilience of our nation. We hope the legacy of the Ponderosa Pine of Grant Pass in the form of its bronzed plaque can be preserved in the Smithsonian Museum of American History for future generations to admire.

Despite its passing, this tree still stands. Nearby campgrounds have been closed for the safety of travelers.

Michael Oxman, an ISA arborist committed to getting the marker to the Smithsonian, brought the passing of this pine to our attention.

Background information regarding Ponderosa Pines graciously provided by NPR. The article titled Ponderosa Pines: Rugged Trees With A Sweet Smell composed by Daniel Kraker can be found here: http://www.npr.org/2009/08/17/111803772/ponderosa-pines-rugged-trees-with-a-sweet-smell

As well as information provided by Terry Richard who composed World's tallest ponderosa pine climbed, measured at 268 feet outside Grants Pass. This article can be found here: http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2011/12/worlds_tallest_ponderosa_pine.html#comments

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Agnes Scott Arbor Day

Growing appreciation and awareness for trees on our campus, students were photographed beside one of their favorite trees (as some had many). Whether it be adding another breath of life through photosynthesis or just their awestruck beauty, the trees on our campus allow our environment to come alive, transforming Agnes Scott into a vibrant ecosystem. They hold our hammocks, become our reading chair, protect us form rain and sun, and home to our fearless squirrels. 

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Timber City Exhibit at the National Building Museum

The USDA Forest Service, Softwood Lumber Board, along with other partners have sponsored a unique exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. This Timber City Exhibit showcases the economic and environmental benefits of using lumber and will be on display until September 10th. Get inspired, attend a workshop, and learn more about the sustainable future of nation's timber practices here.

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Thoreau and the Language of Trees

Rich Higgins has recently published a work of art that explores Thoreau’s deep connections to the trees mentioned in Walden, the beloved classic. Higgins' book is packed with interpretations of the merriment, companionship, and influence of our nation's canopy on Thoreau's unprecedented lifestyle. More information about the 2017 book, Thoreau and the Language of Trees can be found hereThe transcendentalist Henry Thoreau will turn 200 this year, this New York Times article celebrates modern works that explore the naturalist themes that saturate Walden. 

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i-Tree STREETS Online Workshop, Nov 16th


Looking at i-Tree STREETS: An online workshop

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
1:00 PM (Eastern)


Join the i-Tree Development Team for a look at i-Tree STREETS tools via this one-hour online workshop session.

This is part of the ongoing comprehensive web-based instructional series that is introducing the latest tools in the i-Tree software suite, as well as bringing users up to date on the improvements that have been made to the i-Tree collection of inventory, analysis and reporting tools for urban and community forests. i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree Tools help communities of all sizes to strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the structure of community trees and the environmental services that trees provide.

This session will demonstrate the latest updates to i-Tree Streets software tools. It is an easy-to-use, computer-based program that allows any community to conduct and analyze a street tree inventory. Baseline data can be used to effectively manage the resource, develop policy and set priorities. Using a sample or an existing inventory of street trees, this software allows managers to evaluate current benefits, costs, and management needs.


PRE-REGISTRATION is required for this session – Please visit https://goo.gl/Gfi62x to register.

Additional information can be found at http://www.unri.org/itreeworkshops/

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Research Grant Opportunity - Forestry & Stormwater

The Water Environment and Resuse foundation is seeking proposals on research focused on What We Know About Trees, Forests, and Sustainable Water Management.

WE&RF is seeking proposals for Incorporating Forestry into Stormwater Management Programs (SIWM12C15) that examines how forests can help meet stormwater management objectives with attention to nutrient reduction and volume control. Proposals are due by December 19, 2016. 

Click the link below to learn more information about this awesome opportunity.

https://www.werf.org/i/Funding/Open_RFPs/a/o/rfp.aspx?hkey=05bda2a1-23af-4891-badf-815b2960d4f3

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